George in Purgatory by Erica Jong
I have a persistent vision of George Bush entering Purgatory (which I imagine as a scene out of Dante) and being confronted by the bloodied souls of the women and children he killed in
“Remember us!” they cry.
“I have to get on with my death,” he says.
No guide comes to accompany him.
Not Virgil, who guided Dante, nor any of the presidents who preceded him. The founding fathers may not be in heaven, but they have no use for him. Nor does FDR, Teddy Roosevelt, nor Woodrow Wilson. Not even fuzzyheaded Ronald Reagan wants to guide him. Everyone seems to know he’s anathema.
Finally Jesus, who can forgive anyone, comes to greet him.
“All you have to do is acknowledge your mistakes,” Jesus says. “And I will receive you into the flocks of the forgiven.”
“Remember us!” the dead children cry.
“Shah,” says Jesus, “everyone deserves as chance to repent.”
“I have to ask Turdblossom,” says George.
“No counselors allowed,” Jesus says. “Look into your heart.”
“I have to ask Laura,” George says.
“She’s still on earth,” says Jesus. “She can’t help you now.”
“What did my father do? George asks.
“He repented of his lies, his dirty business deals, his adulteries. . .”
“Then God Damn it! I’m not gonna!” George screams.
And with that, he is flung into the icy circle of the traitors with Judas, Brutus and the others and frozen forever.
“It’s not so bad,” Judas says. “With global warming, we’ll get defrosted someday. And we’ll still look good.”
George is perplexed. “Isn’t that just a left-wing theory?” he asks, “like evolution?”